Friday, March 19, 2010

Hitting a Plateau

I’m excited to have lost twenty pounds. My clothes are fitting better and I’m feeling better about myself. The blood test I took yesterday will determine if the effort will pay off as far as my liver function, whatever that is. But I want to lose more. I want to look good this summer. I want to wear clothing styles I haven’t been able to wear in about twenty years or more. But the dang scale seems to be stuck on the same number. Apparently I’m at what the diet books refer to as “a plateau”.

It seems my writing is at a plateau as well. I’ve been working on this novel for almost six years. It started as a writing challenge, and I started out just putting things down, not researching, not plotting, just writing. Now I have about 53,000 words. I’ve been stuck at 50,000 for about a year now. I’ve added subplots, and defined the conflicts the characters have within themselves and between each other. But the word count doesn’t seem to rise. Apparently I’m deleting as much as I’m adding.

I did some research to find out how to break my weight loss plateau. Most of the web articles I read mentioned these tips:

1. Zig-zag calorie intake: Eat more one day, less the next, but maintain the same weekly caloric intake as before.

2. Strength training: strengthen bone tissue, increase lean muscle mass, and boost metabolic rate.

3. Change exercise routine.

4. Change eating habits: don’t stick to the same foods all the time.

5. Eat less, more often: eat smaller meals and snack in between them.

I guess I can try some of these. We’ll see. In the meantime, I wondered if I could adjust these techniques and apply then toward getting me off the writer’s plateau. Here’s what I came up with:

1. Zig-zag writing output. Write more one day, less the next, but maintain the same weekly word count.

2. Strength training: Go to seminars, workshops, and conferences to learn all I can to “beef up” my writing.

3. Change writing routine. Since I don’t really have a routine other than write when I can, I guess this means I need to establish a writing routine!

4. Change writing habits: don’t stick to the same process each time. Instead of writing historical fiction, maybe I should try a contemporary story, or a short story, or maybe a mystery.

5. Write less, more often: I could try to get up early and write a little in the morning, a little in the afternoon while eating lunch, and a little more at night. Maybe if I don't always write at night I won’t be so tired and draw a blank.

I’m not sure these would work, but since I’m at a stalemate, I guess it can’t hurt!


Writing: I’m getting great feedback from my critique group, so I’ve been editing and revising this week. But one of the editing suggestions led to filling out a single action into an entire scene, so that’s good!

Dieting: Stuck at the same weight for over a week. I’m about ready to consume a fudge brownie!

Creativity: More quilt tops sewn, more dish cloths crocheted, and several scrapbook pages completed. Worked on some centerpieces for mom’s club using cone thread spools. I’ll try to remember to post a picture next time!


  1. Keep at it, Patty. I like the idea of workshops, conferences, etc. Sometimes a change of scene and the synergy of other writers is all you need to start fresh.

  2. I agree with Cheryl... keep it up! Even though you've plateaued for now, don't forget the progress you've already made - which is a lot, in terms of your writing AND your weight-loss.